The Penang Home for the Infirm and Aged (The Penang Home) was officially set up in 1963 by a group of well wishers of Penang with the main objective of providing shelter, care, nursing and rehabilitation for the poor who are infirm and aged, chronically ill and permanently disabled. The idea to set up The Penang Home which was then known as The Penang Homes Association for the Infirm was mooted by Dr. C.H.Yeang when he was the president of the Penang Rotarians.
To start the noble cause and kick off the project, the promoters managed to obtain The Lam Wah Ee Hospital`s consent to lease out the latter`s 1 acre land together with the then existing long house and two chalets in July 1964. Later during that year, the first president of The Home, Tan Sri Saw Seng Kew performed the opening ceremony for the first intake comprising of six residents, into The Penang Home. Between 1965 and 1967 several concerts and road shows were performed and organized by supporters and well-wishers for the purpose of raising the much needed funds for The Home`s running and further development.
In 1970, Tan Sri Dato` Loh Boon Siew took over the presidency upon the demise of Tan Sri Saw Seng Kew.
In its first major expansion exercise, The Home decided to construct a double storey building block comprising of an office and a meeting room, two rows of dormitories and a kitchen to replace the existing long house and two chalets.
As the resident population continued to grow, The Home decided to construct an additional row comprising of two blocks of single storey dormitories, i.e. the present existing right wing in 1976. This new building extension was named in memory of the late Mr Tan Kew Seng whose family members had personally donated RM20,000.00 on top of a sum of RM132,521 collected earlier from friends and relatives of the deceased during the bereavement period, towards the construction cost of this building extension.
Another round of building expansion took place in 1986 due to space constraint. This led to the construction of the present existing left wing section of The Home and consists of a row comprising two blocks of single storey dormitories. Our architect, Dato Chong Kum Kwan offered his services for this project as well as subsequent ones on an honorary basis. The Penang Realty Sdn Bhd, which donated RM170,000, principally defrayed the building cost of RM188,466.
By 1994 the intake of residents had reached 115. To cater for the growing resident population and to resolve the ensuing space problem, the board of directors decided to build a double storey block to replace the then existing office cum meeting room. However, before construction could commence, the president of The Home, Tan Sri Dato` Loh Boon Siew passed away on 17/2/1995.
Dato Seri Tan Hoay Eam took over the helm as President on 22/5/1995. As a long term measure and to economise on the land usage, he proposed to amend the earlier plan and construct a five-storey building instead of the proposed original double storey block. The board of directors concurred with his view. He then proceeded to expand the size of the building fund committee that has been set up earlier to raise fund for the project. Work on the building costing about RM 3.3 million commence in 1996 and was completed in 1997, i.e. the present five (5) storey block housing the dormitories and meeting room, general purpose hall, office and the dispensary. The general purpose hall was named Boon Siew Hall in honour of the contribution made by the late Tan Sri Loh coupled with the fact that his group of companies have donated about RM1 million towards the building fund. Dato Seri Tan, in his capacity as the president of The Home and chairman of the building fund committee officially declared open the new building extension on 15/8/1998.
Dato Seri Tan Hoay Eam served as President for a three 2 year term from 1995 to 2001. During the 1st Board of Directors Meeting of the 35th term held on 21/4/2001, he declined nomination for the president`s post. He instead proposed Dato Chan Ban Eng who had served as chairman of the executive committee since 1990 be appointed as president for the ensuing term. This was to pave the way for the younger generation to take charge. The baton of leadership was then passed over to his successor, Dato Chan Ban Eng.
Dato Seri Tan had left a strong legacy behind him. It was during his tenure that The Home`s Trust Fund was set up for financial prudency. His era also witnessed the enlargement in The Home`s membership both from the corporate sector and private individuals. He also initiated the publication of The Home`s first newsletter in 2001 whereby all donations, both in kind and cash, are officially acknowledged to allow for transparency as The Home has by now grown in size with a yearly budget exceeding RM1 million. Dato Seri Tan also took a very personal interest in the comfort of the old folks. This has led to a further improvement in the managing of The Home as well as in the welfare of the residents in terms of their board and lodging.
Several challenges awaited Dato Chan as the newly elected president. This included the shortage of space, the long waiting list of applicants and the limited beds available as the resident population has reached to almost maximum capacity of 260 and the escalating cost of running The Home. Faced with the need for additional funding to manage The Home without compromising on the interest and comfort level of its residents, the annual calendar fund raising and the fostering projects were launched. The calendar project also carried with it the objective of creating a wider public awareness of The Home with the hope that through this wider reach out, more public support will come in.
When year 2002 came by, The Penang Home felt that it cannot hold back on further development but need to expand again if it wanted to continue to help the many aged poor and infirm who are still without shelter and care. To resolve this dilemma, the board decided to build a new 4 storey building to replace the existing 4 rows of the existing single storey dormitories. While the Home was in the midst of preparing to build, the mansion known as No. 8, Jln Residensi, belonging to The Penang Union Club (Properties) Sdn Bhd was put up for sale. For economic and long term interest The Home then felt that if it has a choice it was better to acquire a suitable property rather than to redevelop its existing facility in Green Lane and went on to secure the said property at a reasonable price of RM4 million. This special deal did not just end there as the shareholders of The Penang Union Club (Properties) Sdn Bhd themselves donated RM551,000 and the members of the club contributed a total of RM 129,000 to The Penang Home to assist in the acquisition. The bulk of the purchase consideration was met out of the sum of RM2 million that had earlier been earmarked for the redevelopment of The Home`s facility in Green Lane. The remaining shortfall was gracefully met by the Boon Siew group of companies which donated RM1,200,000 and The Penang Rubber Trade Association which came up with RM150,000. As a gesture of gratitude the main hall at No. 8, Jln Residensi was named Boon Siew Tong and a memorial plaque acknowledging the donation and support from both the members of The Penang Union Club (Properties) Sdn Bhd and The Union Club were put up in the premise. Upon the purchase of this property, the earlier planned redevelopment exercise of The Home`s facility in Green Lane was naturally put on hold with the exception of some general repairs and the long overdue kitchen and dining hall extension.
Penang Home officially took possession of their second facility at No. 8, Jln Residensi in June 2004. Some necessary renovation needed to be done before the deployment of residents from Green Lane could take place. Works soon started thereafter. Top priority was given to safety standards and the comfort of The Home`s residents. Renovation and refurbishment included re-roofing, re-wiring, partitioning, toilets, installation of a lift, water sprinkler system for fire fighting and re-fencing for security. The Home was fortunate and thankful as benefactors came forward to assist in the renovation with their contributions both in cash and in kind. Special care was taken into consideration in the course of the renovation works to restore and preserve, as much as possible, the heritage element and historical aspect of this colonial mansion that was known to have housed the early presidents of Penang`s Municipal Council and the Mayor of George Town.
The Home then relocated all its bed ridden and immobile residents to their second facility at no 8, Jln Residensi which was officially declared open on 30/7/2005. The ribbon cutting ceremony was jointly performed by YAB Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon (the then Chief Minister of Pulau Pinang), Dato` Seri Tan Hoay Eam (Past President), Dato` Chan Ban Eng (President), Dato` Ong Gim Huat, Dato` Loh Eng Kim, Dato` Chuah Saik Ang and Dato` Lim Wan Peng.
However, despite all efforts and actions taken and after three years of occupation, it was felt that for the sake of the welfare, convenience, interest and safety of its residents, it has to relocate them back to its first facility at Green Lane in 2008. This relocation exercise also took into consideration the need for The Home to centralize and consolidate its operations for cost effectiveness in the wake of the then world economic recession. Meanwhile, The Home managed to lease out the heritage building at no 8, Jln Residensi to a suitable tenant. To accommodate the move, The Home decided to add a new wing comprising of a four storey building block adjoining to its existing Green Lane premises. The new wing was completed in August 2011. Total construction cost came to RM4.5 million and was fully borne out of past accumulated public donations.
The Penang Home was given due recognition on 12/10/2004 by the Social and Welfare Department for its role in having given contribution and services towards the improvement in the well being of the senior citizens in the State of Pulau Pinang. The recognition came in the form of a special award and a sum of RM5,000 presented by the Yang Di Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin ibni Al-Marhum Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail to the President of The Home.
In 2005, the Home was awarded first placing among the 6,000 odd societies in Penang as the best society during the "Anugerah Pertubuhan Cemerlang Pulau Pinang" by the Registrar of Societies, Malaysia on 12/11/2005. In the same year, its director, Dato Seri Dr Peter Tan Ewe Aik won the Tokoh Warga Emas Negeri Pulau Pinang award and its staff Madam Chan Phaik Kee received the Anugerah Caregivers Cemerlang 2005 award (Federal level) as well.
Penang Home also secured a finalist placing in the Prime Minister Award for Quality under the socio economic sector for year 2006.
For the year 2010 The Penang Home has been given the Exemplary Award in the Service of senior citizens by the Kementerian Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat on 16th December 2010.
The Penang Home being a charitable and voluntary organization has always been dependent on public support and donation for its day to day running and operating expenses. Among its donors and supporters are the corporate bodies, associations, schools, religious groups, NGOs and private individuals. It also enjoys an annual grant by the Social Welfare Department. The medical needs of the residents are provided both in house as well as from The Penang Hospital and Hospital Lam Wah Ee. Indeed The Penang Home will always be indebted and deep in gratitude to all its benefactors, friends and supporters.
As a constant reminder as well as to keep focus on The Home`s noble and primary objective of providing loving care to the aged poor, Dato Chan Ban Eng, upon his taking office as president, formulated The Penang Home`s motto of "To Serve With Love". With this as a basis, he hoped that a commitment to The Home`s raison d`etre will always be inculcated and remembered by all its stakeholders both present and future.